Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How to DIY a Product Launch Video with No Experience, and for Free (clearfounder.com)
222 points by gx 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments



I think the way to do anything well is to reverse engineer what other people are doing well, find a pattern, break it into small bite size steps and then do it or get help with the step you can't do it on your own.

Always beats imagination or reinventing the wheel.



Take what works, then improve it the least amount possible, test that it is indeed an improvement. Once you verify it is an improvement, repeat.


Best advice ever.


Do you really need a video ? I think a clean and clear website is much better, and much faster to process by the potential consumer (it might depend on the target audience though).


I tend to find videos helpful when I land on something completely new, because they summarise the key points in ~30secs, whereas the page itself takes a lot longer to grok.

I find them unhelpful when:

- the same information isn't also presented on the page - they hide the seek bar, I use this to go over what I find most important


Depends on the target audience for sure. I think most people in software are with you—“just give me text, dammit!”—but I’m my experience selling B2C software, a solid videos drives way more sales than text+photos (ballpark of maybe 20% on a landing page).


This. Great copy and clean UI for the website does a real good job of explaining the product. I personally, dislike watching videos to understand the product, until unless maybe if it is a physical product.


It is said that if people can't understand your product right away, you're doing it wrong. But Slack is very successful and yet people just understand what it is after watching a video of it


I think videos help, Atleast as a user, if I see a video I tend to click on it first (even before reading complete content)


Very cool and I think the product and landing page are gorgeous!

One bit of feedback on the vid is I think it could be better timed to the music - the text zooms should be on the beat breaks.


This! It's more work during editing but worth it. You've got a good uplifting soundtrack, to transfer the vibe to your video you need to match its beat. Add zoom as mentioned elsewhere and you've got yourself a professional video!


Great effort.

> The bad news is, I don't know of the equivalents of these for Windows, so all I can simply say for this article is you'll need a macOS device to follow along.

Does anyone have suggestions for Windows-supporting alternatives?


On Linux I guess you'd use Audacity for audio-editing, OBS for capturing on-screen video and, if you feel adventurous enough, Blender for the video-editing.

Oh wait, those are all open source project and ported from Windows to Linux. You lucky Windows-user ;)

https://obsproject.com/ https://www.audacityteam.org/ https://www.blender.org/


Audacity and OBS are both great. I use Blender for editing videos and it works well but is extremely not-beginniner-friendly.

Openshot and Kdenlive are both good open source cross platform video editors that are easier to learn, though kdenlive's Windows support is still in beta.

https://www.openshot.org/

https://kdenlive.org/


You could just use Hotkeys <ctrl>+<alt>+<r> to start video recording on Windows. And then use some free Video editor. Davinci Resolve also has professional audio and compositing features and is free.

If you don't know what you are doing, I would suggest you probably should just hire some freelancer on Fiver, license professional Music and find a Voice over.

I think a good Video can do much more than just explain your product it also can make people trust you more. But a badly produced Video can also do the opposite and make people think also bad about your Software. On the other hand, a simple App probably needs a lot less trust than a Cloud Service.


Hi - I added a comment to this thread re windows 10 tools (and my process). hope that helps :)


Really suprises me that a company would go out of their way to make software for Apple products exclusively.

No B2B, customers are likely pre-college grads, and the pool of customers are tiny.

Anyone like to hypothesize why a company would be exclusive to Apple?


All of the software listed is made by Apple and bundled with the OS. So not that mysterious.

Beyond that, and to your actual point, different developers have different motivations. Maybe their tool fits a specific need on macOS or within their community, or maybe they are starting with what they know, with a view to expand to other OSs later if they get traction. Or they aren't trying to sell the most software, and so don't feel the need to fish in the biggest pond. Or their software is iOS specific, which is potentially more portable to macOS in a way that it might not be to other OSs.

Seems like lots of reasons, and probably not that different to why some software is only available on Linux.


For media production apple is the market leader and the biggest market by a long way


Source? Is this true? I've seen apple users say this, but none of them are out of college, or they are STAHMs.

Does enterprise use this? Any big companies?


I'm in VFX, in one of the leading houses (5000+ employees over 5 sites). We use Linux for 90% of our workload, but the rest is probably evenly split between Windows for the occasional tools that don't have a Linux release, or Macs.

Interestingly, its mostly the admin/production/HR team who are on the Macs. Additionally all company laptops are MacBooks.


> but none of them are out of college, or they are STAHMs

Can you explain what you mean by this?


relatively speaking, the pool is smaller, sure.

but I don't get 'pre-college grads'. i can't think of a single mac (or macbook) owner I know who is a non-adult (I'm presuming you were meaning to indicate a youth-angle, not education level). I'm sure there are college-age mac owners, but all the ones I know are adults, working for businesses (or themselves as a business).

it's also easier to support just one platform than many.

"there's riches in niches" may be the general answer.


Might be demographic differences but every college campus I've been to in California had about 50% macs


college kids having macs doesn't mean the majority of mac-owners are college kids.


Because making things cross platform takes away development and support time that could be spent making your product better for your most profitable customers.


Porting an existing (legacy) application to other platforms often takes a lot of development time, depending on how portably it was initially developed. I’d argue that if you start out with the intention of supporting many platforms and throughout the project do not tie it unnecessarily to OS-specific APIs and features, then releasing for multiple platforms becomes much less of a development effort. Stick to platform-neutral languages, use the standard libraries whenever possible, minimize and isolate the platform-specific code (probably just the UI), and you’re well on your way.


It's a cult, you simply don't ask such questions.


Nice. I did a classical animation demo [0] for a product that we worked on a few years ago and was surprised by how much we could achieve by simply following general advice. Although I wouldn't recommend anyone going down the path of classical animation for their product demos, the excursion surely made an impact on me.

[0] https://bubblin.io/cover/demo-in-sixty-seconds-by-marvin-dan...

Edit: Added a link.


Videos are super helpful when trying to convey the real value of a product to users. So many people skim sites however when it comes to video they become completely immersed.


For me it's the opposite. If a video doesn't get to the point within a few seconds I skip it. However, I read specs.


Some. It depends on the target market. For academics, I've had far more success with text.


Great effort!

Assuming the video creator is here, here's a quick tip to make the video even better: zoom in and crop.

Currently you seem to be showing the entire app window. Try only showing the feature you are highlighting. This makes the video better for small devices and on computer screens when the viewer hasn't gone full-screen.


Except the viewer is loosing context. I'd go the opposite direction and show the entire screen. (Of course shrink your screen size to be just right.) If you want, maybe zoom in later once you have given context. I don't know otherwise if this runs in the browser or if it is a standalone app.


I'm pretty sure you are both talking about the same thing. The used phrase "zoom in and crop" implies starting with context, zooming in, and showing the close-up feature. Otherwise s/he could have just said "crop".


The app seems to be a cross between MindNode and iA Writer. Which to me, as an active user of both those apps, seems like a great idea.


$40 seems excessive for what is essentially a hierarchical TODO list.

I simply open a google doc in B4 page format landscape and keep a list with bullets/sub-bullets.

It's not ideal, but I haven't found a mind-mapping tool that materially provides anything better.


Thanks for the tutorial. If you don’t zoom into where the magic happens, users don’t have context and don’t understand. Also didn’t like the hard cuts. Camtasia is a tool with fantastic zoom and transition effects. Not free but well worth it.


+1. Camtasia Studio has been some of my best dollars spent. Also it's noise removal and volume adjustment features are INCREDIBLE. I mean, just push a button, done, and it's, WOW.

I also bought a great mic (AT2020USB+) so that viewers were actually able to hear what I say. I went as far as recording the audio separately to avoid my notebook fan noise, keyboard clicks, etc. But I later figured that the high quality mic + Camtasia's noise removal are so great that I can save the (huge amount of) time and use the audio that I record on the go. (I was mainly recording 1-2 minute how-to videos.) Now recording a 1 minute video takes me ~an hour instead of a day that it took at the start.


Question non snarky question: Why do some people opt to host their videos in vimeo instead of youtube? Are there benefits or is it the cool contrarian thing to do atm?

Great article. I hope to use it to do something similar soon :)


Vimeo publishers with paid subscriptions have a greater degree of control over the appearance of the video player. In particular, they can remove the Vimeo branding or replace it with their own branding. On the other hand, YouTube always displays its own logo on its video player.

https://vimeo.com/blog/post/customize-the-embedded-vimeo-pla...


Vimeo offers better bitrate/video compression than u2b, customizable player and arguably better stats.


Could not handle the music and closed 10 seconds into the video.


For anyone not wanting to follow the link trail, here's the website: https://writemapper.com


This is great. I'm going to start a YouTube channel in the next week or so and stuff like this is very helpful!


This is great and your product looks interesting, too! Thanks for the post.


I really like this post.

I've been doing this for a few months myself : < 1.5 min videos for products I'm working on then I share the video around - and after a few iterations can post it to a website.

I've been doing a "story style" voice narration over my videos "Meet _________ she's a ________ that needs to accomplish _________. Product _______ helps her do that ....."

that said - I like the OP's non narration style too : Headline -> product screen -> headline ..."

Here is a summary of the tools and process I use on windows 10:

1) write down the narrated story in a google doc - with individual, numbered "scenes" ..these will be only 1-3 sentences each.

2) practice narrating into Audacity (an audio tool). A decent mic is a good idea - I use a Samson Q2U.

3) iterate on #1 & #2 over and over until you get the text and time to be < 1.5 mins. This is harder than it seems and listening to one's own voice is grating ;)

4) export to mp3 and share with some friends/family to make sure the audio and intonation sounds good. (hint: before exporting, use Audacity's "Normalize" effect .this will attempt to bring the audio to a 0db level which is helpful in the video editing phase when mixing with background music and the audio ducking features).

4.5) once you have the audio narration wrapped up, export audio into individual audio clips for each scene in the written story. This helps if you want to move things around at video editing time.

5) product mockups are done in draw.io , then I just grab the a screen shot of the product mockup screens to be included in the video.

6) screen recordings with a real product / desktop etc are grabbed using OBS (open broadcaster software). This is a GREAT package and works great with single or multi-monitor setup as well as multiple webcam sources all at once if you need them (ex. to show mobile / hardware / physical product along side the desktop software).

7) I bring in other scene images purchased from Shutterstock. This is KEY if you want to have the same actor in different scenes throughout the video; and its hard to get this from the free image sites like pixabay. If there is one thing to spend money on in this whole process - its shutterstock - I can't emphasize this enough. Seriously - the images are great and seem to almost be ready made for this kind of activity.

8) Background music - just like the OP - youtube audio library is awesome : https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music

9) Video editing (remember we're talking windows 10 here) - I use Pinnacle studio 22 - its decent once you get through all the very frustrating UI bugs and bugs in encoded output. I like it for the pan & zoom effects (think Ken Burns effect) and audio ducking. If you don't buy a package, try starting with the free Davinci Resolve - its pretty good and what I would use if starting over. (in fact the only reason I purchased Pinnacle was becuase I forgot about Davinci Resolve)

9.5) putting it all together in video is a matter of dropping in all the images from shutterstock, screen shots of draw.io mockups, obs video captures, background music and narrated audio clips - and then spending HOURS (I'm still a novice) getting the transitions and audio lined up just right.

9.6) use "audio ducking" to cause the background music to go down in level when the voice narration is present and go up in level during transitions or non-narrated demo sections.

hope this helps...


Any pc equivalent? Would be helpful.


I added a comment to this thread about windows 10 tools and my process. hope that is helpful...




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: